Thursday, March 28, 2019

Affirmative Action

One student at my school fancies himself a potential slot at Hogwarts Academy. Over the years I have learned never to diminish the hopes and aspirations of my young charges. There is plenty in their lives to discourage them already, and about the time I feel that "the truth" might set them free it turns out that the "truth" is not known to me alone. Desire and dreams can make all manner of things possible. If Richard truly believes that it is his destiny to study potions and charms, casting spells and learning about his own personal Patronus, why would I want to fiddle with those dreams?
There is an ideological point at which I do jump off this moral high ground: As near as I can reckon it, Hogwarts is a charter school, funded by someone or someones with a large bank account with the intent of separating the haves with the have nots. Having, as in magical abilities. Support from the wizarding community is of course essential. If you happen to be a Muggle, a person with little or no access to the metaphysical side of life, you are pretty much left out. While it is worth noting that the lady in charge of such things, J.K. Rowling, has stated, "There's no tuition fee! The Ministry of Magic covers the cost of all magical education!" Which I'm sure looks great on the front of the catalog, but that magical education is still a stretch if you have never made anything disappear save for the lunch in front of you. 
Of course, once a student is admitted to this august institution, there is the additional cultural stress of being forced through the Sorting Hat Ritual. Will you be Hufflepuff or Slytherin? I know some kids who say they would rather die than not be chosen to be in Gryffindor, and I don't believe I have ever heard any child squeal with delight at being picked to be in Ravenclaw. Kids between the ages of eleven and twelve are a pretty moody lot, and I wonder just how many cases of severe depression are seen in Poppy Pomfrey's office in the days after lives have been altered forever by this process. 
Which makes me wonder just how much money is really involved in the administration of this school for wizards. If parents would throw millions of dollars at the University of Southern California to ensure their little ones had the opportunity to appear as if they were on the crew team, I wonder what kind of bribe would be necessary to get your kid off the bench and into that Seeker spot on the Quidditch pitch. 
Instead I will do what is essential: Guard those dreams and encourage where I can, but keep my eye out for ways to make Richard's path a little easier. It's a pretty tough walk for a Muggle. 

No comments: